How Does a Flea Collar Work for Dogs?

Flea collars are the oldest but not necessarily the most effective method of flea control for dogs.
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A flea collar is a plastic collar designed to gradually release pesticides that kill adult fleas on the animal wearing it. First introduced in 1964, flea collars are one of the oldest flea control products available today. Compared to similar products, however, flea collars generally have more disadvantages than advantages.

Types of Flea Collars

There are two main types of flea collars. The primary function of all flea collars is to slowly release insecticides that kill adult fleas. One type of flea collar releases a gaseous pesticide that mainly affects fleas in close proximity to the collar’s location. Another type of flea collar releases a chemical that is absorbed into the skin and kills fleas that bite the dog.

Flea Collar Advantages

Flea collars are significantly less expensive than other flea control products currently available on the market. They are also long-lasting, with some brands claiming to maintain effectiveness for up to 12 months.

Flea Collar Disadvantages

Flea collars do not offer complete flea protection. Only some adult fleas are killed by flea collars. Those fleas that aren’t killed can still live on dogs as long as they take up residence away from the collar. Also, the chemicals and pesticides in flea collars can irritate a dog’s skin. Certain pesticides used in some flea collars have reportedly caused illness and even death in dogs. Finally, some people find the odor of flea collars to be unpleasant.


If not fitted properly, dogs may bite or chew on flea collars and accidentally ingest the dangerous toxins. Many reports indicate that even when not ingested, the chemicals released by flea collars can sometimes lead to serious illness in dogs and can be fatal in severe cases.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

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